Sunday, July 27, 2014

Why every business needs a Business Analyst?

This is one of the best time in history to do business anywhere in the world. Technology is skyrocketing.  Many new business models once unimaginable are now around us. 

Any business, whether it is small, medium or big, is challenged on a daily basis with the change in the environment.  The difference is only in magnitude, but the challenge is the same to cope up with the ever-increasing competition and customer expectations.  Only those who can adapt to change, to the degree and speed at which it happens, are going to survive. 

The Role of Business Analysis
Change is a pain.  If you need to embrace any business change, whether at a departmental level or at an organizational level, you need to undergo a tough time - the time for transition from old to new.  It could be a completely new way of doing things, a small change to the existing one or even an automation of some process through computerization.  Any of the above is a process change that demands a smooth transition. 

A systematic approach and adoption of a few Business Analysis techniques comes handy at this point.  Here we need more of an objective approach than an emotional one.  (Many a times changes are forced to enact with much of emotions!).  A non-biased objective approach, with the consideration of the present and future processes (as-is and to-be) along with a fine-tuning in alignment with the organizational culture, is often required. An independent team apart from the direct stakeholders or departments is required to do this effectively. 

In other worlds, a small Business Analysis team is required.  This BA team will do the balancing act between the various parties that are affected with the change.

Company, be it big or small  Business Analyst is a must! 
Today when you look at the market dynamics, whether you are a small company or a big company, you need to act very fast.  You need to respond fast to the ever-changing customer expectations. 

Whenever we need to act fast, the probability of influence of subjectivity or bias comes into the picture.  This will have a deep impact on the decisions. The only way to minimize this is to have a Business Analyst, who can judge the situation, with appropriate Business Analysis techniques, and derive alternative solutions.  This will surely give room to think and force you to take the right decision.  Slowly the organization will come to a maturity level where, it can think proactive rather than react to the situation. 

In my opinion, the role of a Business Analyst is as much critical as the customer support department.  I specifically mention about customer support because, off late, many of the businesses have understood the value of it.  Business Analyst or his services are yet to get into that kind of an awareness level.  Surely the awareness is growing.  The days are not far away to have a Business Analyst in every organization. 

To me, the future of any business success predominantly depends on the speed at which it can respond to the technology, market or customer demands. This means that every business has to be agile.  Every business needs to embrace changes very frequently.  There will be always a small or big process change to cope up with these changing scenarios.  A domain expert, well trained in Business Analysis techniques, is going to be an integral part of any business sooner or later. 

I foresee a tremendous scope in the coming days for you as a Business Analyst.  I am sure, as a BA, you will not find a better place than Dubai to be in; one of the vibrant, aggressive and upcoming world’s favorite business destinations.  Enhance your skills and embrace a bright career. Mastering Business Analysis wishes you all the very best!

Happy Reading!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Business Analysis Techniques

Change is one thing common in every line of business. It can happen with the change in customer expectations, advancement in technology, social and legal environments and many more things. 

The degree at which change happens to a business will vary from business to business.  The success or even existence to a certain extent of a business depends on the ability to adapt to the change.  The faster a business can respond to the changes, it will eventually emerge as the winner.  Change is the essence of life.

How to tackle the changes in a business environment?  How to find an optimum solution for a challenge?  How to adapt the right approach, so that the challenge can be converted into an opportunity? How to understand the ‘real’ problem?  What needs to be done?  What is the best that we can do for these?  What are the alternatives?

A typical day of a Business Analyst begins and ends with such scenarios.  As a Business Analyst, you need to find the best alternatives considering various factors like business, socio-economical, political and variety of other constraints. 

For a Business Analyst, he needs to have two things to leverage: Business Domain Knowledge as well as his Business Analytical Skills.  As a Business Analyst, you need to perform various tasks from various knowledge areas.  This can be in succession or in parallel.  In order to do a task there are various techniques.  Some of the techniques are common to many tasks while some are unique.  Your knowledge and expertise on variety of techniques will differentiate you from the rest. 

Good news, techniques can be learned.  If you understand various techniques along with its proper usage considerations, you have attained the ability to become an outstanding Business Analyst.

Through this series, I am going to take a closer look at the various techniques and its strength & weakness.  In my experience how they have influenced the Business Analysis and requirements management engagements. 
Starting on 28th July, on every Monday, I am going to take a technique and put down my thoughts and experience.  Hope this adds some value to you. 

Happy Reading.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Business Analysis @ UAE: Expo 2020 & a Business Analyst

Dubai, One of the fastest growing business destinations in the world.  Apart from one of the most favourite tourist destinations in the world, UAE is emerging as the finest business destinations in the Middle East.  Supportive investment climate, excellent infrastructure and easiness of doing business in Dubai makes it’s the most sought after place in the Arabian plateau.

As you are aware, Dubai has been chosen as the venue for World Expo 2020.   A mega boost to the economy for the days to come! Multi billion dollar projects are already announced.  A strong positive sentiment in the business is already visible.  Some estimates show more than 200,000 new employments to be created.  One thing is for sure everything looks very positive.

All these are good.  What are the prospects for a Business Analyst?  What they can expect from this extra ordinary boom period?  How can they better equip with the changing as well as challenging times ahead.

Let’s have a look at some of the most important (prospective) businesses with Expo 2020.  Construction, Hospitality & Tourism and Banking are among the major ones.  Existing businesses has to expand to meet up with the expected large volumes.  New players will emerge with new ideas and business models.  Large players from the Americas and Europe will strengthen their presence with their existing lines of action with an adapted version to suit to this geography.

If you look at the above, one thing is sure, a change is inevitable.  Business houses have to change from what they do today (or they were doing) to a more adapted and competitive ways to thrive their respective businesses.  Technology and social media will play a vital role.  The traditional ways of marketing, sales and customer support will give way to the more contemporary approaches.  In any way if you look at, most of the businesses have to embrace a change whether they like it or not.  In some cases, the change has to be a completely different approach itself.

Whenever there is a change, the role of a Business Analyst is unavoidable.  He who is the one has to do the transition from the existing way to the desired and changed way of doing business.  His skills and ability will determine the smoothness in transition.  His domain expertise, analytical skills along with the understanding of the latest technologies and practices will be the key differentiator.  Exposure to the Business Analysis techniques, methods, and tools will make him stand out in the crowd.  Business Analysis implementation skills and expertise (like Balanced Scorecard) will make him/her the best sought after candidate in the job market. 

One of the latest survey done by a job portal shows that the UAE Job market has shown a whooping 25% growth on year on year between June2013 & 2014. Banking, Insurance, hospitality, engineering industries witnessed the highest growth. In all these verticals, they need more and more sophisticated products and services to ‘be’ in the market.  Need to make a lot of changes and to reinvent the ways and means to doing business to cater the ever-increasing demands from their customers.

So, as a Business Analyst, in my opinion, this is the best time to take the advantage of the market conditions.  Do sharpen your skills and leverage your domain expertise to achieve greater heights.  Mastering Business Analysis wishes you all the very best!

Happy Reading.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Terminology – the key to SUCCESS

Understanding different words (Terminologies) are the first step to start learning anything new.  Say, it ‘s a language or it can be a new business domain.  Of course, when we want to learn a language, we need to learn many things other than just words. 

Understanding the key words could be an effective start.  For example: If you look at a small kid, when he or she starts speaking they hardly know anything about the language.  They simply start speaking words!  This is a natural gift to all human beings.  If you can understand the terminology, you have made a quick start. 

Business Analysis as a practice is yet to get its full maturity.  It’s evolving.  When you compare with software engineering, project management or requirements engineering, business analysis is still at a nascent stage as a practice.  When we look at the terminology used in business analysis, we can easily find relations to the above said matured disciplines.

"In this series, I am covering the business analysis terminology as I have understood with many years of experience as a subject matter expert.   How are these terminologies and concepts are detailed in software engineering?  Nothing is completely different, there are adaptations, but core is the same.

I am taking a closer look at the ‘Guide to the Software Engineering Body of Knowledge’ (SWEBOK) Ver.3 from Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), ‘A Software Engineering Body of Knowledge’ Ver.1.0 (SWE-BOK) from Software Engineering Institute of Carnegie Mellon University (SEI – CMU), ‘IBM Rational RUP’ (Rational Unified Process) and ‘Business Analysis Body of Knowledge (BABOK) v2 from Internal Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA).

This will help us to get a deeper understanding for each of the terminologies from a variety of point of views.  Looking it at from the IEEE (SWEBOK) standards, SEI’s maturity models (CMMI), from the software engineering and software development point of view of IBM Rational RUP along with the domain neutral approach of IIBA (BABOK), we will able to get a broad perspective.

Drawing it on a larger canvas will hopefully bring better levels of understanding of the subject.  Hope you will enjoy the same!

Please do come back!  I am starting the same soon.

Happy Reading.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Mastering Business Analysis

I am Vipin Kumar.  A Software Engineering Consultant with more than 27+ years of IT experience.  Let me take this opportunity to welcome those who are interested in Business Analysis and Requirements Engineering to my new blog!  Mastering Business Analysis.

Mastering Business Analysis is a portal dedicated to both practicing and aspiring business analysts.  A series of blog posts and webinar series on various business analysis techniques and best practices to help the community to become more efficient and thus highly productive.

I am happy to share my experience on Business Analysis and Requirements Engineering Automation from my various consulting assignments.

I am launching a monthly FREE webinar series starting from 5th August, 2014 onwards.

Await for webinar topics and registration details!